Alex from Target and the danger of internet fame

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The picture that started it all: Alex from Target. Photo: Twitter
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The picture that started it all: Alex from Target. Photo: Twitter

The picture that started it all: Alex from Target. Photo: Twitter

The boy now internationally recognised as “Alex From Target” had a very peculiar Monday evening. High school student Alex Christopher LaBeouf, his reported name, emerged from relative obscurity to claim hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers through no act of his own.

A handsome young man, Alex had been working at Target when someone surreptitiously snapped his photograph. The user then beamed the image out to her 14,000 users — with an emphatic “YOOOOOOOOOO” — igniting an utterly bizarre, cautionary tale of internet fame. From that moment, Alex lost control of events in which he never had any say. His image is now given over to the whims of the internet, more known for its malevolence than magnanimity.

Alex, who seems befuddled but amused by the turn of events, now has more than 550,000 followers on Twitter. Target tweeted at him. So did Ellen DeGeneres. Alex delighted in the attention, but his apparent acceptance of the situation belied a sobering reality: He never asked for this. As The Washington Post’sCaitlin Dewey put it: “The internet owns him. He doesn’t own his fans … and he certainly isn’t the agent of his own enormous, newfound fame.”

Such flashes of internet fame burn hot and fast, and it’s very likely Alex from Target will depart from centre stage as quickly as he arrived. But for now, there’s something distinctly voyeuristic, if not exploitative, about his celebrity. He is powerless as hundreds of thousands pass judgement on his appearance.

“Alex from Target is so ugly!!!” one user on Twitter wrote. “HES ACTUALLY UGLY STOP,” added another. “Why does #alexfromtarget look hot in some pics but ugly in others I want answers,” one more Twitter user asked.

Some sleuths tracked down his apparent girlfriend and sent her threatening messages. “Alex from target as a girlfriend damn, we must execute her,” one person wrote on Twitter. Another wrote: “I will find you, and I will kill you.” One more: “B—, no one likes you we want #AlexFromTarget.”

The callousness of such messages reflects the earliest days of spontaneous, random internet celebrity. An earlier incarnation of Alex from Target was 18-year-old Allison Stokke, now called the “hottest pole vaulter ever.” Her tale of internet fame, which she did nothing to encourage, began when she was a student at Newport Harbor High School and someone snapped an apparently innocuous image of her at the track.

“At 5 feet 7, Stokke has smooth, olive-coloured skin and toned muscles,” The Washington Post’s Eli Saslow wrote in 2007. “In the photo, her vaulting pole rests on her right shoulder. Her right hand appears to be adjusting the elastic band of her ponytail. Her spandex uniform … reveals a bare midriff.” The picture, which a blogger uploaded, went viral at a time when “going viral” was a new phenomenon.

Stokke got 1000 new messages on MySpace, a video of her posted to YouTube collected hundreds of thousands of views and an impostor created a fake Facebook profile of her. A fan page, www.allisonstokke上海龙凤论坛m, materialised and rolled out a dozen images of her. On chat forums, “hundreds of anonymous users looked at Stokke’s picture and posted sexual fantasies,” The  Washington Post reported.

Stokke felt like a victim. “Even if none of it is illegal, it just all feels really demeaning,” Stokke said. “I worked so hard for pole vaulting and all this other stuff, and it’s almost like that doesn’t matter. Nobody sees that. Nobody really sees me.”

The same thing happened to Caitlin Seida, but for very different reasons. Last year, she logged onto Facebook to discover a new message from a friend. “You’re Internet famous!” the message said. Somehow, an image of her wearing a Halloween outfit from “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” had splashed across the Internet — but written over the image was “Fridge Raider.”

Seida, who said she’s “larger than someone my height should be,” at first thought it was funny. Then she saw the comments. One told her to “kill herself.” Another: “Heifers like her should be put down.”

“We all know the awful humiliation of a person laughing at you,” she later wrote in an emotional column for Salon. “But that feeling increases tenfold when it seems like everyone is laughing at you. Scrolling through the comments, the world imploded — and took my heart with it.”

It’s tragic, but expected. The harassment of internet celebrities is a natural progression in their narrative. When Buzzfeed broke the story of Alex from Target, it wrote: “BuzzFeed News reached out to Alex to see if he’s received any harassment after becoming Internet famous in under 12 hours.”

Alex didn’t respond.

Then Alex’s girlfriend was asked the same. “How many threats have you gotten?” one user asked.

Finally, she had enough: “OK, people are going way too far with this.”

But it’s likely they’ll go even farther.

Washington Post

Kevin Andrews branded ‘pasty faced and pooncy’ by NT MP Kezia Purick

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Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews. Photo: Andrew Meares Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews. Photo: Andrew Meares

Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews. Photo: Andrew Meares

Federal political news: full coverage

A Northern Territory Coalition MP has launched an extraordinary attack on Kevin Andrews’ pro-marriage stance, labelling the federal Social Services Minister “pooncy” and “pasty faced” and suggesting he should be castrated.

Country Liberal Party MP Kezia Purick, who is Speaker in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, made the attack on Facebook on Tuesday evening, in response to Mr Andrews’ argument that marriages are more stable than de facto relationships.

“Listen here you pooncy, pasty faced person from some pissant place that no one cares about, half my electorate are probably in de facto relationships and they are happy, normal living people who do their very best for their families and their communities,” Ms Purick wrote.

“They work hard, try their best and believe that you judge people by their deeds not some piece of paper …

“Go away Kevin Andrews and if you ever come to the rural area and try to tell us how to live, three words for you, green rubber ring!” in an apparent reference to a device to castrate livestock.

When contacted by Fairfax Media, Mr Andrews’ office had no comment about Ms Purick’s outburst.

But a spokeswoman did point to a recent article by the ABC’s FactCheck that found while the majority of marriages start with a de facto relationship, for those that never marry, the chance of separating is six times higher.

On Wednesday morning, Ms Purick told ABC Radio in Darwin that Mr Andrews was “trying to force his particular Christian values on how we go about living our lives”.

On Tuesday, Mr Andrews told a families conference in Adelaide that “the family, built on stable marriage, is central in our society and is the first and most important building block in a child’s life”.

He said that while parental break up does not automatically “spell adversity” for children, they face greater risks than if they were in an “intact family”.

Ms Purick has recently used her Facebook page to criticise fellow CLP MP Dave Tollner for joking about people’s sexual preferences.

Yesterday, she also posted that she was “fed up with these bastard snakes helping themselves to my silkie chooks and chickens”.

Fairfax Media has contacted Ms Purick’s office for comment.

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Killer of NSW Police inspector Bryson Anderson pleads guilty to murder

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A Sydney man has pleaded guilty on what was to be the first day of his Supreme Court trial to murdering decorated NSW police officer Bryson Anderson.
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The man’s mother has pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the crime, and this has been accepted by prosecutors.

Mitchell Barbieri, 21, and his mother, Fiona Barbieri, 47 admitted to their crimes on Wednesday in a courtroom packed with the officer’s family and his former police mates

Mitchell Barbieri now faces life in jail, as a life sentence is mandatory in cases where a police officer is murdered in the course of his or her duty.

Barbieri cried and hugged his mother before standing to enter his guilty plea.

Both mother and son had originally been charged with murder over the crime.

But the court heard on Wednesday, that the Crown accepted the plea of manslaughter for Ms Barbieri on the grounds that she had been suffering “a substantial impairment brought about by an abnormality of mind”.

Inspector Anderson was murdered on December 6, 2012, at the Barbieri’s Oakville home after police received an urgent call from neighbours to attend the property.

Officers allegedly found the Barbieris barricaded inside their brick bungalow and firing arrows at officers.

It is alleged that, when Inspector Anderson went to the back entrance of the house to negotiate with the pair, he was attacked with a knife by Mr Barbieri, while his mother swung a block hammer at other officers who tried to intervene.

The pair will return to court for sentencing next week.

Mitchell Barbieri cried and hugged his mother before standing to enter his guilty plea.

Speaking outside court, Inspector Anderson’s brother, Warwick Anderson, said his family were relieved that the guilty pleas had brought them “closer to the public resolution of this matter”.

“Privately there’s still a significant way to go of out family as we try to come to terms with the senseless tragic loss of Bryson,” Mr Anderson said.

He acknowledged the “strength and thoroughness” of the police investigation into the murder, the support of the public and those who served alongside Inspector Anderson on the day of his death.

“Our family is very mindful of the fact that there were a number of police who were with Bryson on that day, some of whom have not recovered from the events of that day and the injuries they suffered both physically and psychologically,” he said.

“The prayers of our family go out to them.”

Ebola: Tony Abbott to support Australian volunteers’ fight in West Africa

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Prime Minister Tony Abbott Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Prime Minister Tony Abbott Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Prime Minister Tony Abbott Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

On top of the $18 million already committed, Australia will now contribute a further $24 million to the fight against Ebola. Photo: Samuel Aranda/The New York Times

The Prime Minister said that Australia had previously used private providers to tackle health emergencies such as cholera. Photo: Jessica Hromas

PM to send Australian volunteers to treat Ebola victimsPolitical news: full coverage

Australia will step up its response to the Ebola virus by contracting a private company to operate a hospital in Sierra Leone and deploying technical experts to support the international effort.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Wednesday that Australia would contribute a further $24 million to the international fight against Ebola, on top of $18 million it has already committed.

The latest commitment includes $20 million to staff a British-built Ebola treatment facility in Sierra Leone over the next eight months.

The government will outsource the job of managing the 100-bed facility to a private provider, most likely Aspen Medical, an Australian company thathas been running a clinic in Liberia for several months.

Mr Abbott said about 240 staff would be required, most of whom would be engaged in West Africa, but it was likely some paid Australian volunteers would also  be hired.

Mr Abbott said he expected Aspen to have staff on the ground in West Africa “within days” and he hoped the treatment centre would be up and running by the end of the month.

In addition, the government has committed $2 million to the humanitarian agency RedR Australia to fund the deployment of technical experts to non-frontline roles in the United Nations response.

The government has committed a further $2 million to improving the readiness of countries near to Australia such as Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea to deal with an Ebola outbreak.

Mr Abbott’s announcement follows weeks of pressure by Labor and the Greens, medical groups and aid agencies, and requests by the United States, the United Kingdom and Ebola-affected nations for Australia to supplement its financial contribution with practical support.

Until now the government has resisted these calls, citing the absence of arrangements to provide treatment to any Australian personnel who maycontract the virus.

Mr Abbott said in recent days the government had received assurances from Britain that any Australians who contracted the virus in West Africa would be treated as if they were British citizens.

Defending the decision to outsource the operation of the hospital, Mr Abbott said Australia had previously used private providers to tackle health emergencies such as cholera.

“This is a public health emergency, it’s not a security emergency. It’s certainly not an economic emergency,” he said.

Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman welcomed the announcement, but questioned why the government had chosen not to directly deploy Australian volunteers.

“What is a little confusing about this decision is that the many hundreds of Australian skilled personnel who have said they wish to help, continue to be knocked back by this government.”

Tanya Plibersek said she did not understand how enough staff would be found in Sierra Leone, which before the Ebola outbreak had just 100 doctors for a population of 6 million people.

In the current outbreak, the largest in history, more than 13,500 people have been infected across eight countries, and about 5000 people have died.

The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that the number of cases in the two worst-affected nations, Sierra Leone and Liberia, is doubling every 20 days, and by January could reach 1.4 million.

CSR profit rises by almost half, boosted by home builders

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CSR’s managing director Rob Sindel. Photo: Brendan Esposito CSR’s managing director Rob Sindel. Photo: Brendan Esposito
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CSR’s managing director Rob Sindel. Photo: Brendan Esposito

CSR’s managing director Rob Sindel. Photo: Brendan Esposito

CSR managing director Rob Sindel said the building products supplier is set to capitalise on years of underbuilding as he handed down a 48 per cent rise in half-year profit to $68.4 million.

Mr Sindel has said that after years of failing to build enough new homes in NSW, the state is now catching up. He pointed to Stockland’s quarterly update last month where the property firm said it had its strongest first quarter for land sales in four years.

“We don’t want to overtalk it, but if you go through a few years of underbuilding you will get a few years of good construction,” Mr Sindel said.

Buoyed by resurgent housing construction and stronger earnings in its aluminium and property businesses, CSR on Wednesday reported a 15 per cent rise in revenue to $1 billion for the six months ended September 30.

Earnings before interest and tax rose 86 per cent to $114.1 million. The strong result helped push CSR into a net cash position of $5.7 million.

Given its pristine balance sheet, Credit Suisse analyst Andrew Peros estimates CSR has up to $350 million of firepower to spend on acquisitions.

Mr Sindel said there are lots of opportunities to deploy capital in pursuit of growth. Acquisitions in the range of $20 million to $100 million will be part of the strategy, as well as innovation and product development.

In the year to June, Australian housing commencements rose to 181,000, the highest annual result since 1994.

However, the trend suffered a reversal in September as building approvals for the month fell 11 per cent on the same period last year, the sharpest decline since June 2013.

“Despite the most recent decline, building approvals have improved for 21 of the past 24 months. Allowing for lags, this suggests materials demand should continue to gather pace,” CIMB analyst Andrew Scott told clients.

Strong house price rises in Sydney and Melbourne have added to the need for more new homes, but also raised the possibility that the Reserve Bank could use macro-prudential restrictions to take the heat out of the market.

But Mr Sindel is not concerned.

“The overheating, if there is any, is in the established market. The pricing for new houses in western Sydney is very competitive and you can get a lot of value for money,” he said.

“I don’t think there is any short-term risk. If it [prices] keeps going up 10 or 15 per cent they [the Reserve Bank] might be forced to act, but often prices jump and then stabilise for a few years.”

He also downplayed any impact regulatory restrictions could have on demand for CSR products. “The new build detached market has not got the same drivers as superannuation investors buying up apartments,” he said.

Alongside other energy intensive manufacturers, CSR faces a big increase in gas costs when massive new LNG export terminals on the east coast come online. CSR’s annual gas costs are expected to rise from about $30 million to about $55 million in 2017-18.

After the Senate passed the first part of the federal government’s direct action climate policy last week, the $2.55 billion emissions reduction fund, CSR rival Brickworks said it has a line of projects to cut emissions and reduce its dependency on gas.

Mr Sindel said he is also looking for ways to tap into the fund. “As soon as I saw that direct action looked like passing, I sent out our energy teams to see where our opportunities are. I think the scheme could work well,” he said.

“If you look at something like a drier or a plasterboard factory you can always improve the efficiency, but the payback [to recover project costs] might be six or seven years. Direct action allows you to bid for abatement that could reduce the payback period to four or five years.”

CSR’s troubled Viridian glass division showed signs it is starting to stem its losses. Viridian reported EBIT of $500,000, up from a $10.6 million loss.

“It was a good outcome for glass to break even ahead of expectations, despite a number of attempts to turn the business around,” Mr Peros said.

Earnings in the aluminium business rose 71 per cent to $41.4 million, primarily due to the strong premiums being paid for physical aluminium.

Mr Sindel said the company is continuing its discussion with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about its proposed east coast brick joint venture with Boral.

Last month the regulator raised a red flag over the deal in its statement of issues. Mr Sindel would not comment on CSR’s course of action if the merger is blocked, but he said returns in the brick business are unacceptable.

CSR declared an interim dividend of 8.5¢ per share, up 70 per cent. CSR shares rose 10¢ to $3.60 on Wednesday.

Christian Lealiifano ready to break the shackles after shedding kicking responsibilities

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CARDIFF: Christian Lealiifano hopes relinquishing the goal-kicking duties can help him break the shackles as he aims to lock down a regular starting spot in the Wallabies.
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The ACT Brumbies star also hopes he can unlock Israel Folau’s talent at fullback to help him end the longest try-scoring drought of his Wallabies career.

Lealiifano’s confidence has taken a hit as he struggles with his kicking accuracy this year, admitting his woes with the boot are taking a mental toll.

But he is poised to get another chance to impress at inside centre when the Wallabies play Wales in Cardiff as new coach Michael Cheika puts his faith in proven players.

Lealiifano is battling Brumbies teammate Matt Toomua for the No.12 jersey, and hopes being able to focus solely on his regular duties will ease the pressure.

“[The confidence] is slowly building nicely, it’s something that comes with just playing more,” Lealiifano said.

“I feel like it’s coming along really well, all I can do is just keep enjoying it and not stress too much.

“I think you lose confidence if you put pressure on yourself, you’ve got to have fun. Not kicking has taken a lot of pressure off, just putting it away … focusing on other areas.

“But if it ever comes up again, hopefully I’ll be ready. It’s just a work in progress.”

Lealiifano was regarded as Australia’s No.1 goalkicker last year, nailing 83 per cent of shots in Tests and 78 per cent in Super Rugby.

But in trying so hard to regain his confidence after off-season ankle surgery, his accuracy dropped to just 51 per cent.

Cheika has declared the players who went within a minute of beating New Zealand two weeks ago deserve another chance in the starting team.

That’s good news for Lealiifano – and if given another chance, the talented playmaker is preparing to take down the “big trucks” in the Welsh backline.

Wales have named a giant midfield of Jamie Roberts and George North as the centre pairing.

North – 109 kilograms and 194 centimetres – famously carried Israel Folau on his back in a British and Irish Lions game last year while Roberts is just as destructive at 110 kilograms and 193 centimetres.

“If you’ve got size like that, you’re going to use it, our job is to limit the go-forward they get,” Lealiifano said.

“They’ll be trying to cause some havoc up the middle … If it’s me you’ve got to put your body on the line and try to stop the big trucks.”

Folau has failed to score in Australia’s past five games, his longest period without a try since making his Wallabies debut last year.

“I am pretty happy with the way I’m playing, I’m creating opportunities for myself and guys around me … scoring tries is a bonus,” Folau said.

“Most people would probably say I’ve gone under the radar because I’m not scoring tries, but I’m doing a lot of my work off the ball.”

Lealiifano said the duo’s combination would rely more on instinct than planned moves.

Araldo broken leg resembled a ‘bag of ice’

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Melbourne Cup 2014 full coverage
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Mick Moroney, the trainer of ill-fated Melbourne Cup runner Araldo said nothing could be done to save the horse after scans showed its pastern had been broken in seven places and resembled a “bag of ice”.

Moroney said his stable was still coming to terms with the unexpected demise of Araldo with staff, owners and connections deeply saddened. He said nothing could stem the despair at the stables.

He said the veterinarians had told him that the damage to the pastern, sustained when it took fright at a flag that a small child had been waving and struck a fence, was simply too great and the horse was euthanised.

Purchased for $500,000 from Germany, Araldo had been targeting next year’s Sydney Cup and BMW Stakes.

Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey said he would hold talks on Wednesday with senior VRC officials about the flag waving incident.

Bailey said there are certain protocols and guidelines in place but whether the child complied with the guidelines has to be worked out.

Bailey will talk to racecourse curator Mick Goodie and acting chief executive Julian Sullivan to investigate short term measures for Oaks Day on Thursday and the final day of the carnival on Saturday.

He said it was a most upsetting incident but arrangements for horses to reach the mounting yard, as an alternative to the 100 yard race currently used, would be put in place for this week. After that he wants to have a complete overhaul of what pennants and flags can be brought into the racecourse.

Racing Victoria’s head of veterinary and equine welfare Brian Stewart said racing authorities would be conducting “a thorough review this morning about what can be done to manage” the proximity of racegoers to the returning horses.

“I guess nobody wants to take the colour and excitement out of racing but at the same time the  safety of horses and people, the jockeys, has to be a major concern,” Dr Stewart told SEN Radio.

With Stathi Paxinos

The 18 signs you’re obsessed with travel

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Travel nerds, unite. There’s no need to be ashamed. No need to hide.
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You may have begun to suspect, over the past few years, that you’re becoming increasingly obsessed with travel. That it’s starting to take over your life. That it is your life.

If that’s the case, you’ll recognise plenty of these telltale signs.

You can recite the entire aircraft safety demonstration off by heart. “To inflate your life vest, pull the red tabs…”

You own the geography edition of Trivial Pursuit. I went through an extremely nerdy phase of spending nights at home drinking with a few travel-obsessed friends and playing this game deep into the wee hours. There’s nothing cool about that.

You know the only two countries that start with “A” but don’t end with “A”. Hint: they’re in Asia. And if you know this off the top of your head then you’re definitely obsessed.

The most visited websites on your internet browser are all airlines. Closely followed by TripAdvisor and Wikitravel. Conversely, you haven’t bothered to check Smart Traveller for government warnings in about three years.

You roll your clothes. All good travel nerds roll their clothes when they travel, knowing it gives them more space in their bag. It’s when you start doing this at home that you’ve really got a problem.

You have no idea about current affairs… But you know, to the minute, when the next Jetstar sale starts. The lack of current affairs knowledge comes from being on the road so often and failing to check the news. The sale knowledge is self-explanatory.

You have at least 10 foreign currencies in your top drawer. The combined worth of all this spare change is about $14, which is why you haven’t bothered to go down to the bank and exchange it. That, and you never know when you might be back in Mongolia.

Your Facebook feed is full of languages you don’t understand. Some friends write in Japanese, some in Spanish, some in Hebrew. There’s a smattering of Arabic. It’d be handy to know what everyone was actually saying, but, failing that, at least the page looks exotic.

You don’t own a car or a house…  But you could probably buy both with frequent flyer miles if it was allowed. You’ve spent all of your hard-earned income on flights and holidays, which is why you still haven’t gotten around to those big, grounding purchases like property and vehicles.

The weather app on your iPhone has about 20 cities from around the world. You’re torturing yourself, clearly, but it’s nice to be able to quickly find out whether people will be going to the beach in Sicily, or if it’s started snowing yet in Whistler.

You can order food in six different languages. You’ll constantly mangle all of those languages to an almost unrecognisable state, but hey, at least you’re trying.

Your house looks like a souvenir store threw up in it. There are tacky snow globes, posters, miniatures of the Eiffel Tower, islander carvings, “I heart NY” coffee mugs, framed photos, bits of national dress, fridge magnets and key rings. Your partner or flatmate probably hates all of these items. But who cares?

You can sleep anywhere. It might be on a plane, it might be on a bus, it might be curled up in a corner in an airport, in a dorm bed or on someone’s ratty couch. Doesn’t matter – you’ve mastered the art of grabbing sleep wherever and on whatever you can.

You have a favourite airport. And a least favourite. You also have a favourite terminal at LAX (the Tom Bradley, obviously), and know the quickest way to get to all of the London airports. And it actually makes sense if someone tells you they’re going to “the LCCT in KL”.

You have your own blog. It might have 20 readers or it might have 20,000 readers. Doesn’t really matter. You’re travelling enough to warrant a space to write down all of those experiences.

You’ve been to Luton. I can’t think of any reason a tourist would visit this English city other than to fly out of it with a budget airline. It usually takes as much time to get there as it does to fly to your actual destination.

You know if you’re a “window” person or an “aisle” person. You have an extensive list of reasons to justify this preference.

You could pack a backpack and be out your front door in about 10 minutes. After many years of packing and repacking and repacking again, you don’t even need to think about what’s coming with you. Quick check of the weather on your iPhone, grab some local currency from your top drawer, and you’re gone.

What do you think are the signs you’re obsessed with travel?

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Melbourne Cup favourite Admire Rakti health checked before race

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Paranoia: Admire Rakti, right, was vet checked the morning of the Melbourne Cup. Photo: Michael DodgeRacing Victoria’s chief steward asked for Melbourne Cup favourite Admire Rakti to be health checked on the morning before it died suddenly after the race.
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Racing Victoria’s chief veterinarian Dr Brian Stewart revealed he checked the stallion stabled at Werribee on the morning of the cup after a request from chief steward, Terry Bailey.

Dr Stewart said the horse was healthy and described it as case of “chief steward paranoia”.

Mr Bailey concurred saying it was commonsense to check the horse.

“He (Dr Stewart) is right in what he says, probably a bit of chief steward paranoia, but after the call of the card, there was a little bit of easing in the market and some good judges (were) suggesting that it couldn’t win,” Mr Bailey said.

“I just felt it was our role – and duty bound – to make sure the public of Australia were protected. After all it was the favourite in the Cup, to just make doubly, triply make sure that the horse is OK,” he said.

Dr Stewart found the horse to be healthy and found no indication of the heart failure condition that felled the horse in the stables after the race.

The initial autopsy has confirmed the horse died from a heart failure condition, which Dr Stewart said was common in elite athletes while exercising. He said the horse was unlikely to have been in pain and described the death as like “fainting”.

Dr Stewart said it was a rare event in horses and occurred in about .007 per cent of horseracing deaths. In humans it would be treated with a defibrillator to re-regulate the blood flow. He said a horse-size defibrillator would be would be considered in a review of the death but no other racecourses used them.

“It would take a very, very rapid response (to use a defibrillator), but we will review it,” Dr Stewart said.

Mr Bailey said a veterinarian arrived quickly when Admire Rakti was seen to be in distress and was with the horse when it died.

He said jockey Zac Purton whipped the horse once but eased when it did not respond at about the 400-metre mark.

RSPCA Australia’s chief executive officer Heather O’Neil called for the Australian Racing Board to ban the whip by next year’s Melbourne Cup.

“Punters expect to see the horse they bet on to be ‘ridden out’, and jockeys show this by literally flogging a tired animal – it’s time for this to stop,” Ms O’Neil said.

She said there was no evidence that whipping made horses go faster and there would still be a winner if no whip was used.

“If anyone suggests repeated whipping does not hurt horses, they should try it on themselves.”

Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses campaign manager Elio Celetto said the same jockey Zac Purton had been fined at the Caulfield Cup on Admire Rakti for excessive whipping.

“This horse knew what was expected and was giving its all and he has paid the price with its life,” Mr Celetto said.

He said Australia needed to follow Norway and ban the whip in horseracing. He said the campaign would continue at Oaks Day with a mobile sign.

Dr Stewart said it was a tragedy but dismissed the calls for a whip ban.

“It is not a matter of horses being worked too hard or that we ask too much of athletes. They are elite athletes. In this particular circumstance there is absolutely nothing that could have been done to identify that this horse was at risk or to have prevented it,” Dr Stewart said.

“They are very well looked after, very healthy and are very much loved by everybody. It happens in humans. Do we stop people running in marathons? Do we stop people playing golf because someone might have a heart attack on the golf course? I don’t think this very rare, one-off incident is enough to say racing is definitely unacceptable in any way,” he said.

Mr Bailey said there would be a review of how horses got to the track after the death of Araldo from a broken leg after it was “spooked” by a waving flag.

He said one option would see horses come back via the clock tower which would move them further away from the crowd.

No problems between Demons and Jack Trengove says Melbourne coach Paul Roos

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Melbourne coach Paul Roos says the Demons don’t expect any ill-feeling between the club and former captain Jack Trengove after the midfielder’s trade to Richmond was aborted on medical grounds.
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Melbourne and Richmond had agreed in principle on a trade involving the No.2 pick in the 2009 national draft, but the deal was scuttled when Trengove was found in a routine medical check to have re-injured the navicular bone in his foot.

Trengove, who had played only two games in 2014, had surgery last week to remove existing screws, doctors this time using a bone graft. Roos said on Wednesday one of his first tasks upon his return to the club was to catch up with the former skipper.

“I’ve texted him a couple of times when I was away,” Roos said. “I don’t think there’s any problems whatsoever, and we hope that he can still contribute to this footy club as good player. He’s pretty positive, he seems pretty upbeat [about the surgery] and I’m looking forward to sitting down chatting with him about it.”

Roos said Melbourne had always believed Trengove a required player, but the potential trade deserved to be explored.

“It wasn’t a fire sale. He needed to be comfortable with it, we needed to be comfortable with it, but it was far from being a done deal. Jack’s addressed it already, he doesn’t have a problem with it at all. It was never a case of him being thrown out of there and that he wasn’t going to play for the Melbourne Football Club.”

Roos said the Demons hadn’t given up hope of Trengove being able to make some sort of contribution in 2015.

“In the short term, it’s about getting that bone to heal and the blood down there and in a sense, without being alarmist, leading a normal life. That’s the first component of it. We certainly haven’t given up hope of him playing, but the first thing is making sure the foot is healing so he can get to the point where’s out of the boot and he’s walking, jogging and healthy. That’s the first stage, and then we start to go from there.”